TAILGATING BEHAVIOR: 
FAIR or UNFAIR?
ADDING MY TWO CENTS
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Instructions for this Report
Introduction
Tailgating Behaviors:  Prior generations
Moral Implications to Tailgating
My Own Behavior
Conclusion
Future Generations
Epilogue
 
INTRODUCTION
 
    I'm sure many of those who drive on the road, at one time or another find themselves being tailgated or tailgate. What is tailgating?  To some tailgating is simply driving too close to the car in front of you.  While others say that it is following less than one car length for every 10 mph, which is the appropriate stopping distance necessary between two cars.  However, according to  Dr. James , one theory in traffic psychology is that tailgating is following too close to another car with the intention to coerce or punish the other driver when you think they have wronged you.
    There are three domains that are present in tailgating behavior which will be examined throughout this report.  They involve:  the affective domain:  a person's FEELINGS, the cognitive domain:  a person's THOUGHTS, and the sensorimotor domain:  a person's ACTIONS.

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TAILGATING BEHAVIORS:  PRIOR GENERATIONS
Jae Isa, G1

    Jae Isa says that tailgating is driving extremely close to the car in front of you.  She feels that tailgating is unjustified and is morally wrong.  She believes that it is disrespectful and discourteous.  According to Ms. Isa, tailgating increases the probability of accidents, raises the issue of harassment, and infringes upon a person's privacy due to the personal space factor.  Therefore, she strongly feels that tailgating should be legally enforced to ensure safety on the road.  She goes on to say that tailgating in any shape or form is an act of aggression with the intent to hurt.  Thus, there is nothing good that will come out of tailgating.
    Ms. Isa did not include her personal experience with being tailgated or tailgating therefore the three domains can not be examined.  However it is very clear that Ms. Isa is against tailgating and feels that it should not be done.

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Nancee Aki, G2

    In Nancee Aki's self witnessing report she found herself tailgating mostly when she was late for an appointment or for school.   She does this to push slow drivers in front of her to drive faster and she finds this very effective.  This situation will be put  into the three domains:  she felt stressed/worried (FEELINGS) because she was late for school, she thought if she could push the other driver to speed up, it will get her to school faster (THOUGHTS), so she tailgates (ACTIONS) the other driver.  Her tailgating behavior gets worse when someone on the road gets her mad.   She says that it brings out the monster in her.  However, there were also times when she finds herself following too close to a care without knowing it due to daydreaming and lack of attention to the road.  What made her realize this was the wake up call of braking really fast when the car in front of her suddenly stops.  She believes that tailgating gives her a sense of power and control.  Yet on the other hand she realizes that it is dangerous and will try to be a more patient and courteous driver.

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Ryan Mitsui, G4

    Ryan Mitsui shared an experience when he tailgated a car.   It was to punish the driver for coming up behind him really fast and then at the last second cutting into the next lane.  In his tailgating experience, he was so mad (FEELINGS) because the "fucken ass hole" was almost going to bang him so he thinks it will make him feel better if he punishes him for it (THOUGHTS)  therefore, he tailgates the person (ACTIONS).  After the hot 75 mph pursuit and numerous lane changes Mr. Mitsui finally came to his senses and realized that it was stupid and he could really have gotten hurt and even die.
    He continues to say that he only tailgates when people do it to him first.  However with this in mind, he is not justifying tailgating.  To him it's a personal thing and he has to work on it because he knows that it is wrong to tailgate.  Now when people tailgates Mr. Mitsui, he no longer gets mad (FEELINGS) because he doesn't let it bother him (THOUGHTS) therefore he no longer tailgate (ACTIONS) them back.

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Kathy Teruya, G6

    Kathy Teruya admits to tailgating but she herself  REALLY hates being tailgated.  This is due to a really bad experience she had back in January 10, 1996.   Since everyone was trying to get onto the freeway, many drivers including Ms. Teruya felt a need not to let anyone into the lane.  This leads to very little necessary stopping space between cars (this is considered tailgating).  When there was a sudden need to stop, Ms. Teruya barely stopped in time, the van behind her barley stopped in time, but unfortunately the car behind the van was not so lucky.  BAM, BAM, BAM, four car accident, $4574.92 in damages to Ms. Teruya alone.  Now she always gets nervous when someone tailgates her.  She trust her reflexes but she can't trust the person behind her.
    With this bad experience in mind one would think not to tailgate but not Ms. Teruya.  She claims that it is a different story when SHE tailgates.  Despite this hypocrisy she is now more self aware.  She would feel offended and angry (FEELINGS) of someone cuts her off.  She thinks that she was justified in maintaining lane integrity, she thought she was right (THOUGHTS).  Therefore she tailgated the person (ACTIONS).  Oh well, easier said than done!
 
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 Holly Ishikawa, G8
 
    Holly Ishikawa admits to being a tailgator.  She purposely tailgates when she is in a rush, when someone cuts her off, or when someone drives too slow in front of her.  However, at times she also finds herself  unconsciously tailgating because she was either daydreaming or not paying attention to the road.  Ms. Ishikawa performed a mini-mini experiment that focused on the three domains of her tailgating behavior.  On day one of  the experiment she was faced with driver who she thought was driving too slow in the passing lane (THOUGHTS).  She felt upset and impatient (FEELINGS) because she felt the driver was inconsiderate and driving slow to spite her.  Therefore she tailgated him for a while (ACTIONS) and then changed lanes.  On day two of her experiment she was driving her boyfriend's car.  She was again faced with the same situation of a slow driver in the passing lane.  She felt upset and impatient (FEELINGS) but since she was driving her boyfriend's car she thought that she needed to be responsible driver (THOUGHTS) therefore she did not tailgate (ACTIONS).
    Despite the fact that Ms. Ishikawa tailgates, she believes that it is morally, ethically, and spiritually wrong.  She feels that it cannot be justified in any way.  Her mini-mini experiment really helped her realize that there is a choice whether to tailgate or not to tailgate another driver.  It is up to the individual to decide to either stress over it or get out of it.

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MORAL IMPLICATIONS TO TAILGATING
 
Is tailgating ethical?
    As far as ethics go I don't think that it is unethical for tailgating is a moral not an ethical choice.  The need to tailgate is to express how we feel towards the other person at that time.  It is an individual choice that the person needs to make.  If  they feel they will gain something by it then, they will tailgate.  But bottom line, nothing positive will come out of tailgating.  The only outcomes would be wild stories of power and control and of course the very obvious an accident.  It is the individuals responsibility to determine the consequences.  Some may say that they do not have a choice when they are the victim in being tailgated.  But they do and that is to simply get out of the situation.

Is tailgating fair?
    Tailgating is not fair.  But then again what is fair in life?  Nothing is fair, only if we live in a perfect place would we find fairness.  The reality of it is that we don't and therefore we need to deal with it, not dwell on it.  The way  we deal with it is important.  We live in a reality where people have their own individual needs and wants, so their goal is to accomplish it.  What counts as fair is that if  they do it in a way where there will be no harm done to the other.  But in most cases people are so distracted by their own needs and wants that they fail to realize their are others involved.  This is where the unfairness comes into play.  It is unfair for the person being tailgated because now their life is in danger.

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Is tailgating justifiable?
    I feel that it is justifiable in some situations.  When we are not doing it on purpose due to difference in judgment of closeness, I feel is justifiable.  I was faced with this situation and many others have as well.  To me driving has been sort of "automatic" and "second nature" that I don't see it as following too close.  I know how much I need to stop without hitting the car in front of me.  Also I feel that when their is heavy traffic we are forced to tailgate because we need to fit as much cars on the freeway as possible.  To me, it is like making full use of our road space.  Everyone needs to get to where they want to go and if there is space between cars, people will use it.
    On the other hand, when there is an intent to coerce or punish, it is unjustifiable.  We need to share the road and being a big bully on the road is not the way to go.  To me it is sick to know that someone purposefully tailgates to harm another person.  That is just wrong and inconsiderate.  No one should coerce anyone, if they don't like the situation they are in get out of it.  If they have a need to get the person back for wronging you, tailgating is not the way to do it.

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Is tailgating spiritually wrong?
    I really can't see how the role of spirituality play on tailgating.  If it has to do with religion, I don't recall any of the teachings having a section on the effects tailgating to the spirit.  However, major religions do teach of practicing goodness and loving one another.  So if you see it in that light then, purposefully tailgating is spiritually wrong because it is with the intent to harm or coerce the other person.  In order for one to instill goodness, we need live or follow a path that is self-sacrificing.  As Dr. James said we need to act upon consideration.  That is what lies behind goodness, being considerate of others and putting that in front of one's own needs.

Is tailgating convenient and is no big deal?
    The reason why people still tailgate is because it is a convenient way of expressing oneself.  When someone does something wrong you want to tell them that you were affected by it.  It also is a way of making you feel better because you can lash out your frustration and anger.  When the person in front of you goes slow you want to communicate to them to speed it up or get out of the way.  A friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles told me the rule to driving in L.A. is to kill or be killed , it's your choice.  So in a sense it is convenient.  But is it no big deal?  Well to me it is a big deal because everyone is affected by it.  It should not be condoned because it is a dangerous act.
 
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MY OWN BEHAVIOR
       I don't consider myself to be a tailgator but there were times when first time passengers
would tell me that I follow too close. When they said this, I was shocked to hear such nonsense because I hate tailgators.  I feel upset (FEELINGS) when people tailgate because I think that it is inconsiderate and wrong for someone to intentionally tailgate another person (THOUGHTS) therefore I do not tailgate (ACTIONS).  Although I refuse to believe that I follow too close, there was an incident when I was driving around the island (note there is only one lane).   A van in front of me suddenly pulled over to the shoulder lane and as I was passed, the driver stuck the middle finger at me.  I was confused for I had no idea of what I did wrong to have made him do that to me.  Then my mother suggested that maybe I was following to close. What????  No way I was just driving, enjoying the view, and was not following too close the van.  My sister who was the front seat passenger agreed with me, she also felt that I was
not following too close.
    This incident really hit me and made me think that there is a difference between tailgating with intent and tailgating without intent.  There were times when I have been a victim of being tailgated.  And I feel that it is completely different from when my allegedly tailgating incident with the van.  I was on the passing lane of the freeway going way above the speed limit.  I was going the normal 65 m.p.h.  Then a car behind me kept on started pushing and pushing me to go faster.  He was right up against the back of my car.  The odd thing I noticed was that no other cars on all the other lanes.  I would have gotten out of his way but from my rear view mirror I could see him smirking at me.   It was like he wanted to make trouble to me.  That made me irritated  (FEELINGS) so I wanted to teach him a lesson (THOUGHTS) so I started to slow down and kept on decelerating (ACTIONS). We were down to 35 mph on the freeway!  He finally got the mad and sped off on the the other lane.  As he passed he glared at me and I just smiled.
    Therefore as far as tailgating goes, I feel that it lies in the hands of the person being tailgated to take action.  If one feels that the person behind them are following too close, then get out of their way.  Or if you have the guts and a good insurance policy, then do what I did but that is a big risk because an accident could have come out of it.  As much as I hated the man in the van for giving me the finger, it made me realize that I do follow close and now I try to be more aware of my distance with the car in front of me out of consideration for them.

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CONCLUSION
 
     To me there are two types of tailgating, intentional tailgating and unintentional tailgating.  I have very strong feelings against tailgating to do harm or coerce the other driver.  It should not be done because we all share the road and nothing positive will come out of it.  On the other hand when one is tailgating due to lack of attention or the difference in perspective of closeness, it is justifiable.  However, the driver like these should make a conscious effort not to follow too close.  As for the heavy bumper to bumper traffic.  There is not much that can be done but avoid the rush hour traffic by taking alternative routes.  So with any situation, whether it be a need to tailgate or being tailgated, let it go, just get out of the situation.

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FUTURE GENERATIONS
    Hey future generations!  Although starting on your reports EARLY will help you tremendously, most of you will probably be like me and wait until the last minute!  Let me warn you, it is a lot of work and you will be stressed!   But you know what?  You can do it and you'll learn so much from it!  Just DON'T GIVE UP it's not worth getting a bad grade.  One thing that I found to be very helpful...get to know your CLASSMATES, my classmates helped me a whole lot!
 
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EPILOGUE
 
     Throughout writing this report I have learned that tailgating is common amongst everyone.  Everyone seems to have the same negative feelings towards it but at the same time tailgate themselves.  It's one thing to think it but we should all try to take action and not tailgate and get out of the tailgator's way.  Again, it all comes down to being considerate towards others.  We must look at our actions and see how we can improve on them to make driving more pleasant.

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